As for the laptop, unless you do a lot of performance computing with the thing, it's not worth getting an i7 IMO. Newer Core 2-based laptops with Win7 and a decent supply of RAM can be quite speedy. An i7 is really only necessary if you're a gamer, or doing some rendering or something.
As for brand, Dell's are actually fairly decent price-wise. We've got quite a few of them at my office (both laptops and desktops) and they've been reliable overall. I'm also a fan of Toshiba. Not so much HP, Gateway, Lenovo (Lenovo really makes odd decisions on its hardware design!). If you want pricey, check out Sony's VAIO line. But I wouldn't otherwise recommend them.
Uh-h-h ... thank you, but no - VAIO cases must be made of precious metal(s), 'cause the guts ain't that great. Friend has one - I hate when I have to work on it after he gets stone-walled. Developed a distaste for HP & Compaq when they were proprietary, never got over it. Gateway desktops are OK, I guess, but the laptops strike me as somewhat sub-standard. Lenovo ... well, seemed to me that IBM made some strange hardware decides, & I guess Lenovo bought that as part of the package when they picked up ThinkPad <snicker />. Had good results with Toshiba laptops when at MCI, and the Dells were ok, but the VP I was under banned Dell 'cause of price. That may be where I got the pricey
attitude, but as I browse their products, prices seem reasonable.
Did the firmware upgrade - like to try to keep that stuff up to date, too many black-hats walkin' around - so that's prolly not a viable solution, but I'll check for a later 'n greater version, anyway.
Thanks for the notebooks link - hadn't run across that one - looks interesting.
Now, about the I7
. Yeah, I know, it's overkill - right now. But CAD will follow gaming in fairly short order, and I'm certain that Adobe is working on stuff right now that will want, if not need, it. Then GIMP will follow suit. It's amazing how fast some software can stretch the limits of technology. Prolly be years before most software will need, or even make use of, that kind of power. (Look at how long 64-bit has been around, then count the number of applications that make use of it
.) But I'd like to play with it, and am in a situation right now where that is a viable option. It's a conceit, I know, but one I intend to satisfy <chortle />.